What is a divorce? California is known as a “no fault” divorce state, which means that if you are asking for divorce, you do not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. To get a divorce in Stockton you simply have to state that you and your spouse cannot get along or are having “irreconcilable differences”. Let assume that it is your spouse that filed for divorce, and you have been served with the divorce papers. You will have thirty days to respond, and file your response with the court. Simply ignoring the paperwork will not help the situation because you will eventually deal with the default that your spouse may file once the time period to respond has come to an end.
Filing for divorce? How can I file for divorce? In order to begin the divorce process with the court, you have to complete a Petition for Dissolution. Make sure that all necessary information was put in the Petition. If you have minor children from this marriage, you also will have to fill out Declaration under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act. Once you complete the paperwork, bring it, together with extra copies to the court clerk to file.
Are there special requirements before I can file for divorce? There are number of requirements that you have to satisfy before you can file for divorce with the court in California. First, you have to be the resident of the State of California for at least 6 months prior to filing the divorce papers; second, you have to be a resident of the county you are filing the divorce paperwork in for at least 3 months. However, if you do not satisfy those requirements, you still can file for a Legal Separation. Court Fees apply to process your paperwork unless you qualify for a Fee Waiver.
What happens after I file for divorce? If all requirements are met, you will be issued a Summons. Someone over the age of eighteen and not a party to the action will serve the Summons and the Petition on your spouse by personally delivering the paperwork to him/her. That puts your spouse on notice that the divorce paperwork is filed with the court, and he/she has thirty days to respond to the Petition for Dissolution. Once your spouse has been served, the person who served him/her should sign a special form called the Proof of Personal Service, and you should file this form with the court.
What if my spouse and I have an agreement? This is a good sign that you and your spouse decided dissolve your marriage amicably. The agreement is usually called Marital Settlement Agreement. This Agreement may reflect various provisions you want to agree to with your spouse with a few exceptions prescribed by law. The Marital Settlement Agreement will be attached to your Final Judgment, and will become a court order after the judge signs the Judgment.
Do I have to wait before I can remarry again? Yes; there is a waiting period, usually of 6 months and one day from the date that your spouse has been served with the Summons and the Petition. However, there are certain counties in California where the time period is shortened. Please check with your local family law court clerk before filing the Petition for Dissolution.
What happens with the house, cars, and other property we have? Once the Summons is issued, there are automatic restraining order for both spouses regarding their rights and obligations; property; insurance, etc. California is a community property state which means that all property acquired by the parties during marriage is community property. Each spouse has a right to one half of the community interest. However, if the property was acquired prior to marriage; after separation of the parties, or during marriage by gift or inheritance, that property is called separate property of the parties.
What happens with the credit cards and other debts? Community property interest consists of both rights and obligations. This means that each party will be responsible for the half of the community debt.
What happens with kids? This is the toughest question of all. Obviously, children cannot stay with both parents; this means that you and your spouse have to share custody and visitation time for the children. Usually, the parties will have joint legal and physical custody. The parties with or without court assistance will develop a visitation schedule for the children. In a case of court assistance, numerous factors will be taken into consideration. Please see the “Custody” section of our website for further details.
Can I make my spouse pay me before the divorce is final? And how much can I receive? Yes, you can ask the court to order temporary spousal or child support. However, the amount of the support depends on numerous factors that the court takes into consideration when awarding the support amount. Please see the “Support” section of our website for further details.
Do I have to go to court to get a divorce? It depends on whether you and your spouse have an agreement. If you have Marital Settlement Agreement in place, then that agreement will be attached to a Final Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. That means you do not have to go to court unless some special circumstances arise. However, if you and your spouse cannot agree on issues such as custody, property division, child/spousal support, etc., you will appear and present your arguments to the Judge. The Judge will make the final decision on the issues that are litigated.
What happens after the divorce is finalized? You will receive the Final Judgment for the Dissolution of Marriage. Congratulations! You are eligible to marry again if you decide to do so. Most importantly it means that you can move on with your life, and put the divorce experience behind your back! Let our Divorce Attorney at the Family Advocacy Center, Inc. divorce education provide you competent understanding of the nuances that affects your family law case.